The ITU World Triathlon Series heads to Hamburg this weekend, where athletes will compete in sprint elite races on Saturday and the Mixed Relay World Championships on Sunday.
With only two races left in the World Triathlon Series before the Edmonton Grand Finals, athletes will gather from across the globe to compete for the remaining WTS points.
The WTS will once again take a departure from the traditional Olympic format. The sprint profile starts with a two-lap lake swim (750m) off a pontoon, followed by a flat four-lap bike course (20km) through downtown Hamburg, and finishes with a flat 2-lap run (5km).
Hamburg has been hosting ITU events since 2002 and is the oldest venue on the WTS calendar. More than 10,000 athletes raced in Hamburg in 2013–making it the largest age-group triathlon in the world. The venue is known for attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. (Get a feel for the crowd support here.)
The women kick off the action on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. EDT). Helen Jenkins (GBR) and Jodie Stimpson (GBR) will attempt to beat Gwen Jorgensen (USA) in the women’s race as the American looks for her fourth consecutive win of the season. If Jorgensen wins, she will tie Emma Moffatt (AUS) for the most WTS wins in a season. Sarah Groff (USA) will also be competing in Hamburg after injury forced her to sit out WTS Chicago. Jenkins, Stimpson and Groff will need have good races if they want any chance of giving Jorgensen a competition for the WTS title. Jorgensen currently sits in the No. 1 position with a commanding lead of 3424 points. Jenkins (2666) sits in second, with Stimpson (2396) and Groff (1959) in third and fourth, respectively. The race will also feature 2012 Olympic medalists Lisa Norden (SWE) and Erin Densham (AUS), who have taken some time away from the ITU circuit.
The men will compete immediately after the women at 6:15 p.m. local time (12:15 p.m. EDT). The men’s field is stacked with talent—Richard Murray (RSA), Javier Gomez (ESP), Mario Mola (ESP), and brothers Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee (GBR) will all be competing for the top place. Brownlee looks to repeat his 2013 gold medal showing again this year.
Like Jorgensen, Gomez holds a strong lead in the rankings and will become nearly untouchable if he can take the Hamburg win.
Mixed Relay World Championships
The Mixed Relay World Championships course close out the action on Sunday at 4:35 p.m. local time (10:35 a.m. EDT). The course features a one-lap swim (300m), where athletes will enter the water at “Kleine Alster” and turn around under the Reesendammbrücke bridge. The technical bike course (6.6km) includes two generally flat laps, but features tight turns and direction changes. The athletes will finish with two laps on the run course (1.6km).
Each country will enter two relays of four athletes each in the mixed relay race. Once each athlete finishes his or her three legs, the next athlete will begin (female-male-female-male).
Twenty countries will be competing in the Mixed Relay World Championships this Sunday. The teams do not have to announce their lineups until after the individual races on Saturday. Germany is looking to continue its dominance after winning last year at home. Great Britain took home the title 2011 and 2012.